Saturday, January 26, 2008

Press Your Luck, Gov. Huckabee Edition

It's hard to dislike Mike Huckabee. Matt Taibbi, of Rolling Stone, said as much in a November profile of the former Arkansas governor. As Taibbi's warns his readers, "Let your guard down anywhere near the former Arkansas governor and he'll pod you, Body Snatchers-style — you'll wake up drooling, your brain gone, riding a back seat on the bandwagon that suddenly has him charging toward the lead in the GOP race". But, Taibbi says in the closing paragraph of his article, "Charm only goes so far if you're full-bore nuts." With that fact, let no man disagree.

Like Taibbi, I like some of the things Gov. Huckabee says because they are the opposite of what you would expect from your typical Republican candidate. For example, he has been saying for a while, contrary to what other Republican candidates maintained until last week, that the economy is not in good shape. All you needed to do to find out that the economy was in much worse shape than we were told, he said, was to ask common folk, those at the bottom of the economic ladder. He talks about boosting the economy from the bottom up, rather than from the top down (we know how well that works). That is refreshing, coming from someone who runs for the party of Reaganomics, the party that embraced Grover Norquist's theory that the size of government should be reduced to the point where you could drown it in a bathtub.

Gov. Huckabee is a likable human being, too. He is not snide, unlike other Republican candidates who jeer and sneer so much on stage (Ron Paul and Democrats usually being the butt of their derision) that you want to yell at them to "wipe that smirk off your face", and he plays the bass. In fact, he likes to tell the story of how, while serving as Arkansas governor, he pardoned Keith Richards (after Richards got a traffic ticket he and Ron Wood got in 1975). How bad could he be? Well, as the saying goes, not everything that glitters is gold.

First, there's the issue of Gov. Huckabee's position on evolution. Evolution, he says, is just a theory, and if theory clashes with scriptures, then the latter must be right, because scriptures are God's word. Whammy number one.

Then, there's the issue of God v. the Constitution of the United States. "I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view." Huh? Whammy number two. I smell a double whammy coming...

And, in fact, the double whammy came on Thursday night, during the Florida debate broadcast by MSNBC, when Gov. Huckabee answered the question of whether he believes that the war in Iraq was a good idea, in spite of the fact that weapons of mass destruction were never found, that we were not received like liberators (if you except the images of Iraqis helping to bring down Saddam's statue in a made for Fix/Faux/Fox News special, architected by the same U.S. Department of Disinformation that brought you fake Armstrong Williams articles that extolled the virtues of No Child Left Behind, for the modest fee of $240,000). With perfect aplomb, Gov Huckabee delivered the following quote: "Everybody can look back and say, oh well we didn’t find the weapons. Doesn’t meet that they weren’t there. Just because you didn’t find every Easter egg didn’t mean it wasn’t planted", and then proceeded to drown in Kool-Aid.

Unfortunately for Gov. Huckster, the Iraq Survey Group, which was enlisted by the Bush administration to ascertain whether a transfer of WMDs from Iraq to another country had occurred, most likely Syria, found no evidence for it. And, in a wicked turn of events, CBS revealed that FBI agent George Piro, who interrogated Saddam Hussein for seven months, learned that the former dictator had misrepresented an inexistent WMD program to dissuade Iran from ever attacking Iraq. In other words, a severe case of dead man's bluff. If you don't believe me, you can hear that for yourself on Sunday, when 60 Minutes airs on CBS.

Of the three untenable positions summarized above, the most disturbing is by far Gov. Huckabee's position on WMDs. I understand why he would voice his unbelief in evolution, or his opinion on why the need to adapt the Constitution to the word of God. Primary season entails saying the things you think your likely voters want to hear in order to give you their votes, and the fact that Gov. Huckabee is a Baptist pastor puts such lunacies in perspective. But who on earth would still defend the Bush's administration position that WMDs have been moved out of Iraq, when even the Bush administration itself prefers to avoid the subject?

To recap: Gov. Huckabee believes that we should adapt the constitution to the word of god. The word of god, when read as literally as the governor does, denies the scientific truth of the theory of evolution. Those who oppose the theory of evolution on the same grounds as Gov. Huckabee point to the lack of transitional fossil that can tie the transition of one species to another, despite the fact that fossil evidence does have a way to surface, when paleontologists look hard enough for it. Unlike the WMDs that the governor believes to have been moved out of Iraq.

Yes, indeed, Gov. Huckabee is a likeable fellow. Probably one you'd like to sit down with and have a beer. Remember what happened the last time you voted for such a guy?

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